Sunday, September 28, 2008

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

This morning my pastor spoke on Isaac's prayer from Genesis 25:19-23. Verse 21 says, "And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived." This evening's service we sang this song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". The second part of the first verse..."O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer" really stood out and brought this morning's message a little deeper in my thoughts.

First, Isaac chose to pray in difficult times. The verses before this passage state the generations of Ishmael, the brother of Isaac from the mother of Hagar. His brother was not the promise seed of God, yet his generations were many. Here Isaac, the chosen seed, had no children. There was barrenness in his life. Is there barrenness in my life? Is there something I need to choose to pray for in difficult times.

Second, Issac chose to pray instead of following a bad example. Back in Genesis, Isaac's father, Abraham, chooses to take matters into his own hands. Sarah suggests he take her maiden Hagar to "help" God with this blessing of children...possibly thinking they were doing God a favor. We must remember that God's timing is different than ours. This example of his father Isaac did not follow. He prayed that Rebekah would conceive. Has there been a bad example in our life? We don't have to follow it...we can choose to go against the flow of bad choices and stand for what is right.

Third, Isaac chose to pray based on past experiences. Isaac knew God could provide. He was there when God provided the ram. He saw that Jehovah Jirah (God Provides). He believed because of past experiences that God was faithful to what He is able to do. In my past, how has God answered prayer? He will do it again.

Fourth, Isaac chose to pray because of the Lord's promise. Isaac knew God had promised the seed through him. Isaac may not have been praying during these 20 years for the child...He may have taken for granted that God would do it. God shall supply my needs in my life...do I pray specifically for them? "We have not because we ask not" James 4:2. In the model prayer in Matthew, Jesus demonstrates that we pray "Give us this day our daily bread." Do we pray daily for the provision of food? We should...God wants us to talk with him about our needs. Yes he already knows of these things, but a relationship is about sharing and communing with each other. The passage doesn't say that Isaac never prayed about it before this time, but maybe he thought he should start. Is there something that I need to be praying for that I desire? Or that God has promised? It's time to get serious and get on my needs earnestly.

Which brings us to the fifth point...Isaac chose to pray earnestly. He prayed to LORD, "The God of all strength." The best thing we can do in our life is to EARNESTLY PRAY. What are we forfeiting, when we don't pray earnestly? (The line from the song..."O what peace we often forfeit..." but there is many other things we may be forfeiting in our life because of not praying earnestly. The word "intreated" is a different word for prayer...it's a word that has a sacrificial base. How much do I sacrifice to the Lord in prayer? The same meaning can be found in these words...beseech, urge strongly...it's a confident prayer, it's personal and it's spontaneous. It also states that the LORD was intreated of him. God earnestly seeks to answer his prayer...and blesses him doubly.

We have a great friend in Jesus...He is there not just as a genie to grant our wishes. He is a friend in the time of need, and also a friend in good times...happy times...times of celebration. Jesus is a friend closer than a brother. He wants that relationship with us. He wants to be our friend. He wants us to desire His friendship.

It's an amazing relationship and still yet there's so much I need to learn about it. I pray each day it brings new meaning...it shows new joy.

__________________________
It has been a very good day/weekend. I was able to see the movie Fireproof. I finished the novel by Eric Wilson just last night. It was very good. I also had two great services...and I figured out my topic for my Pentateuch class paper. I had been in prayer for this for some time. Last week I talked with pastor about how I struggled with getting outlines for lessons...I can study something that is already there, but to come up with an outline...I just struggle with that. While reading in Genesis about Jacob's wrestle with God...I found two points...but I struggled with the third. I took it to Pastor and he helped me narrow down a better choice. I have been working on the lesson a little tonight...while writing this blog actually. Things have been coming to mind and I'll go and write a little bit. I want to get my "Life Application Bible" because I think it may help bring some application to that passage for me to develop.

Tomorrow is Monday...It's a VERY long day for me. Work from 9 to 4...leave for class, class begins at 5...and then 7...get home sometime before 10 (hopefully).

Tuesdays aren't too bad...I get home after Bible Study usually around 7:30...but Mondays are REALLY long for me.

For those praying for me...thank you, thank you, thank you. I know I'm feeling prayers for my studies. I want to do well in class...not for the sake of getting a good grade, but because I want these studies to impact my life and relationship with Jesus.

Until next time...

*-What a Friend We Have in Jesus" Words by Josephe M Scriven 1855. Scriven wrote this hymn to comfort his mother, who was across the sea from him in Ireland. It was originally published anonymously, and Scriven did not receive full credit for almost 30 years.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This Mystery...

Nichole Nordeman wrote "We take stock and we punch the clock and we make sure all those zeros have balanced in the end."

Yes...this is the song for my Math class. I really enjoyed the past two weeks in Math, but that first week really killed me. I was thinking that I'd probably get a D on my homework, so when I got it back and had a C...I was having a party. LOL!!!

Last night, I didn't get to see Fireproof because our theater had sold out for the last two showings that evening. The girls and I who were going to see it was praising the Lord that it was sold out, but we were disappointed too because we really wanted to see it.

There is a novel by Eric Wilson that is based off the screen play by Steven & Alex Kendrick. It's really good so far. I am going to be reading easier once I can picture each of the characters.

Well...I'm off to clean the fellowship hall and office area. I got the sanctuary on Thursday since our women's restroom is under construction, I didn't want to have to re-clean that area before Sunday.

Until next time...

*"This Mystery" recorded by Nichole Nordeman

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fireproof...

Two reasons for this post...one to celebrate the opening of the movie "Fireproof" this Friday. I'm SO excited. Four of my friends are planning to go this Friday on opening day to see it. It's funny because we are all single, but we each are praying for the opportunity to experience a godly marriage.

I have been engaged once, and I'm thankful God allowed the relationship to end. We were just on different pages. We both were Christians, but I believe that was the only thing we really had in common. I look back on many of my relationships with the thankfulness God stepped in and stopped the relationship. Yes, I was hurt when they ended, but looking back hindsight, I see so many obstacles and problems.

Anyway...we are really excited to see this movie. I have bought the book "Love Dare" to read when I get to enjoy the experience of "fun reading" again. Also I bought the novel based from the script. I read the one that went with "Facing the Giants" and it was really good...had a lot more about the character of David.

The second reason for writing this post to remember three Hebrew men, who stood against what was wrong and was able to show they were "fireproof." Back in the 80's Russ Taff recorded a song entitled "Not Gonna Bow." It was one of my favorite songs, because it compared the experience of the three Hebrew boys with a modern experience of how we can stand up and show that we believe in God.

We live in a world today where there are many privledges being taken away from us... Prayer in schools, 10 Commandments posted in public places, etc. We live in a world where the ACLU is trying to allow minorities to be heard, yet when Christians come to them with problems, are they helping them? I have a friend who teaches in a public school. He has said, that if he ever got in trouble for sharing his beliefs with his class, he would love to call the ACLU to see if they would help him. Then when they realize he was sharing his "Christian" beliefs, and they would try to get out of it, he would call the "Christian Law Assocation" (CLA) to sue the ACLU. It would be an interesting argument.

We need to take a stand. Is it easy? No. Is it necessary? Yes. With the election of the United States, we need to go to God...allowing Him to direct our choice in President. He will not lead us astray. We need to not bow to what the world wants...and to stand in God's strength.

*Title of post is "Fireproof," a song by the group Pillar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm Praying For You

In the past few posts, I have decided to make a way for my titles to be unique. My sister has a really cute way "the one about..." But I didn't want to be exactly like her, but yet I wanted a unique way to title each post. So I took an idea from my favorite show One Tree Hill. Each episode title of the show is after a song. Of course...most of them I have never heard. But it was interesting because the creator of the show is a music buff. Reminds me a lot of myself, because he thinks of music as the soundtrack to our lives.

Here's how I think I'll work this...I'll write the post and at the end of the post, I'll make reference for finding the song. On with this post...

Right out of my days at Southland Bible Institute, I was experiencing the gift of reading for pleasure. Since during school, I wasn't able to read for pleasure due to all of the reading that needed to be done for class, I had forgotten how much I really did like reading. My English teacher at the school became good friends with my mom. Once while visiting the college again, I spoke with her and she was talking about a book she was reading. I mentioned to her I found an excellent author I enjoyed. She checked her out and then gave me a book to read by Robert Whitlow entitled "The List." I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it, because I have struggles with period pieces of literature. Not sure why, but I do. Anyway, I gave it a chance, and boy was I glad. "The List" was a great book and really opened me up to this author and I read another one, although I can't remember which one it was...it was either "The Sacrifice" or "The Trial".

Anyhoo...This past year, Robert Whitlow was involved in a project to get the story from "The List" to theaters. Currently it is on DVD, and last night I rented it. I loved the movie. Even though I really enjoyed the book more. I am going to read the book again...possibly over Christmas break.

The theme throughout the book is the power of prayer. One of the memorable lines from the movie is about how good and evil people underestimate the power of prayer. I definitely recommend the book and the movie. Let me know what you think, if you see it too.

*"I'm Praying For You" - recorded by Anointed from the CD "If We Pray" released June 2002.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Watch the Lamb, Thank You, I Think I See Gold, and I Pledge Alligence to the Lamb...

*Note...This blog contains material that may need to be monitored before allowing anyone under 21 to read."

I apologize beforehand for having to put this statement at the beginning of this blog, but I do believe that we need to be aware of happenings in our Christian circle...including sins of the sexual nature.

The title of this blog are titles of songs. Each of these songs have impacted my life. A few of these songs have won awards of some kind. Each song was each written/recorded by a man by the name of Ray Boltz.

I was sadden to hear that Ray Boltz has said he is now gay. Yes, you read this correctly. On his official website, he states he will be performing for at two different churches. Both congregations are a part of a denomination that embrases the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.

Just in the last week, I read the account of how God Himself destroyed a city polluted with sin. Abraham begged God, "if I can find 50 people who are faithful, will you hold your wrath?" God said, "yes, if you find that..." Abraham eventually went to God and asked, "if I can find 10 people...", BUT there wasn't even 10 people to be found in that city who were faithful. Lot packed up his family and headed out of the city.

In that chapter after that account between Abraham and God, two angels come to meet with Lot. Lot takes them to his house, and the men of Sodom, come to Lot's house and asks "to bring the men out unto us, that we may know them." Those men of the city wanted to have sex with the angels who were visiting Lot. What does Lot do??? He says to the men of the city, "I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daugthers which have not known man, let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you..." I'm not going to go into Lot's dicision to these men asking to be with his visitors.

It saddens me that men and women of faith, choose this lifestyle because the Bible states clearly it is sin. Leviticus 18:22 says, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." (KJV) Also in Leviticus 20:13 says, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination..." (KJV)

From the CM Blog "The Scriptorium" "Contender Ministries" Ben Rast writes...
"Contrary to the opinions of some, the Old Testament is not the only place in the Bible that condemns homosexuality...In Romans 1:26-27 Paul is very specific, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recomplense of their error which was meet." In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul wrote, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind." The Greek word from which the King James Bible gets the word "effeminate" is malakos, which literally means something soft to the touch, but is used as a negative metaphor to refer to a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man. The "abusers of themselves with mankind" are those men who engage in unnatural sexual relations with other men - homosexuals. That is also how the NASB, the NKJV, and the NIV traslate the verse."

Christians need to take a stand against sin. I think sometimes we are afraid to be bold about what the Bible says about different issues because we may not know what the Bible says about a particular issue or sin.

I pray God will intervene in this matter. I know I'm very disappointed to hear this news and will be praying for Ray and his family. I understand his divorce is final, but he and his ex-wife still are close.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

As Long as My Heart Knows It's You

The title of this blog comes from a song by 4 Him from the CD "The Ride" (Released 1994) The song was written by Dave Clark, Mark Harris and Don Koch. This song has been in my head since Sunday morning. Pastor spoke from the experience with Abraham offering his son Isaac.

The words to the first verse & chorus are as follows:

God only knows how he must have felt
Out on the mountain where Abraham knelt
Though deep in his heart I'm sure it hurt to obey
Still he offered his son as if to say, I'm ...

Willing to live
Willing to die
Willing to make any sacrifice
I'm willing to go
Willing to stay
Lord, there's no price too high for me to pay
Any struggle that might come my way
I'm willing to go through
Jus tas long as my heart
As long as my heart knows it's you...


Pastor's message was entitled "The Making of Isaac"

If Isaac were going to be here telling us this experience, he would probably say this was the experience where he knew this was why he was here on earth. Many people in history can pick an experience that really pointed to "their making." God uses experience in our lives to help us see who we are in Him.

There are seven things that we can learn just as Isaac learned in this "making of him."
1. We learn that God tests (tempts) people. (vv1 & 2)
God asked Abraham to "take now thy son, thine only son Isaac...and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (side note...this reminds me of another time God spoke to Abraham..."telling him to pick up his family and leave for a place that I will tell you"...how many times has God called us to do something, but not given us the exact instructions or directions on what to do next? Have we willingly obeyed him?...end of side note).

God asks of Abraham to take this son of promise to a mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham packs up Isaac, and a few servants and heads towards the mountain.

2. We learn how God loves. (v. 2)
Something pastor brought out...this is the first time the word love is mentioned. "Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest..." The first time love is mentioned in not between a man and wife, between God and us, but between a father and a son. (He also pointed out the first time we read "love" in the New Testament is in the gospels...Matt. 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22 all speak of the baptism of Jesus, when the heavens open and the voice of God is heard "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (KJV) The message paraphrases this verse as follows: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life." In John's gospel the first time the word "love" is seen is John 3:16 "For God so loved the world"...who is the world? we are. God, the Father loves us. God loved us so much that He gave His only Son for us as a sacrifice (a payment) for our sin.

3. We learned what worship is (v.5)
"I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you." Abraham was asked to lay down his desires and bow down to God. Abraham knew that God had promised a nation to come from him...and that nation would be coming from Isaac. So he knew that Isaac and he would return together. He didn't know that God would provide a ram, nor did he take a lamb for sacrifice. Many scholars believe that Abraham believed God would raise his son back to life. (side note: Talking after church with Pastor and his son-in-law, a comment was made stating that Abraham possibly believe that God would raise his son again...this would mean that Abraham would be believing in the resurrection...which is why we are saved...because we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (our sacrifice for our sins). He's alive.)

The word worship means to bow down. To bow down to His will (recognize that His will is the best). Something pastor mentioned...how many times have we used this word worship in the wrong context. "Wow! we had a great worship service...we sang so many great songs, and was jumping around praising the Lord." If we truly worship God, we have become a broken person. We are laying our desires to Him...bowing down to Him and accepting his will for our lives.

4. We learn of fellowship (vv. 6-8)
Abraham and his son, were together in true fellowship. Preparing the alter for the sacrifice. Imagine you are Isaac for a minute. Your father is a very old man. You are carrying the wood for the sacrifice, your father carrying the fire and knife. (yet there is no animal for the sacrifice.) Isaac speaks "Father?" Abraham answers "Yes, my son." Isaac continues, "We have flint and wood, but where's the sheep for the burnt offering." Abraham simply replies, "Son, God will see to it that there's a sheep for the burnt offering." And they kept walking together (The Message).

5. We learn of obedience (vv. 7-10).
They arrive to the place where God has told Abraham. And Abraham begins to prepare the alter. Think about this for a second...Abraham picks up Isaac and lays him across the wood. Isaac doesn't run away...The Bible doesn't record of any conversation coming from Isaac, but I wonder if Isaac was beginning to wonder what was happening. He trusts his father. He's probably heard the story of when God told his father Abraham that He would make a great nation from his seed. I'm sure he knew that he would be a special man in God's plan, but yet, he doesn't run away. He obeys and lays on the alter. Yes Abraham did tie him, but I don't think it was to keep him there, but more for safety possibly.

6. We learn how God provides (vv. 11-14).
This is my favorite part of the account of this experience for Isaac and Abraham. Isaac laying on the alter, being offered to The True God, and Abraham preparing his stance over his son (the one whom God promised would come to Sarah and him). He takes the knife and raises his arm to slay this promised son...but the voice of the angel of the Lord calls to Abraham. Abraham replies, "Here am I." The voice continues, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." (KJV) After this statement, Abraham looks over to a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. God provided the sacrifice to be offered to Him. Abraham named the place "Jehovah-jireh...because God provides (God sees).

7 (my favorite) We near God has a plan (vv. 15-24)
When they return from their worship experience, news comes from the home land. It's interesting how in the Bible few times is it mentioned in a family lineage of women. But in this passage, we see that it's told Milcah has given birth to children and those children have had some children...one of them a girl named Rebecca.

I would have loved to have seen Isaac face to see if he may have been interested in that name "Rebecca". The plan was that Isaac would be the seed that would begin the "Great Nation" for Abraham...and in later chapters we see that this Rebecca is the wife of Isaac who bears Esau and Jacob.

I know this is a long blog, but it's something that has been in my mind for the past few days. Am I willing to live, willing to die, willing to make any sacrifice, willing to go, willing to stay, is there any price to high to pay? I pray I'm able to say...I'm willing to do anything...that Jesus asks of me.

Until next time...

I've made it again...

Well...it's Tuesday and I'm still walking. Last night was my second class. I talked to my math teacher and said, "I think I need remedial math." I'm not ashamed to say that Math is not my best subject. At church on Sunday night I was sitting there reviewing some of the problems I still had to do. Our pastor's daughter is in 6th grade and walks up to me and says..."I can do that." I honestly wanted to chock that kid. I really struggle with it. I can add, subtract, multiply (not well), and divide (a little worse than multiplication, but I can do it)...but when you talk about geometery...I freeze. My mind just doesn't understand it.

Anyway...last week I was excited to get home and watch my favorite show that I had taped. I went into the living room after writing the blog to just relax and enjoy rest of my evening...and saw that I had taped the wrong channel. I didn't get TOO upset. I was disappointed, but thought, 'I'll just wait to watch it online.' The station posts the show about a week after it airs. I was really excited the next day though when I saw they station was actually going to replay it on Sunday. Well...our electricity went out and I was unable to watch it on Sunday. So last night after class I got online and watched last week's episode. It was a good and sad episode.

As far as class last night. I enjoyed math. It was reviewing stuff that I already knew. So it seemed to be better for me. In the Pentateuch, we went over the "Introduction" chapter and started on the chapter for "Authorship", but he's going to go over the rest of that chapter next week. My reading for that class is a lot, but I am trying to keep up. I hope to have the book of Genesis read by next week...at least that's my goal for it. I'll be reading the chapter in the book on Genesis and looking over the chapter on Authorship just in case.

Well...I need to get ready for work...so I'm closing up the blog for now. I hope to write a blog about the Sunday morning sermon. It was a good one.

Until next time...

Monday, September 08, 2008

First night of classes...

Wow!!! I'm a little overwhelmed in Math class. I was beginning to get lost in class tonight. I can't do math in my head and I need to practice my multiplication tables. Wow!!! That's all I can say about that class.

As for The Pentateuch...I am really excited about this class. On the way home, I began praying about the subject of my paper due the week of November 10th (I'm going to try to bring it early as I won't be attending the class the night it's due). I've got some ideas running in my head, but really want to read some of the Scripture for those ideas before deciding for sure where I want to take this.

Stopped at Wal-mart afterwards...needed to get some stuff for my hair...and some toliet paper.

Getting ready to watch a little TV before heading to bed. I don't want to worry about homework until tomorrow night. I'll probably be reading a lot this weekend when not celebrating my friend Mary's b-day.

Until next time....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Hair cut...


Well...I did it. I got my hair cut...I saw this cut on a singer and thought it was cute. It reminded me of how I used to wear my hair when I was in my early year of college. I had mentioned to mom last night and showed her a video that showed the cut I was looking to get. I wanted her to know it was going to be short. I usually do drastic cuts when I decide to get my hair cut. And this is no different.

I was frustrated because my hair was getting a little unhealthy and breaking and began to have fly aways...I thought lets start with new hair (sorta). Everyone at the shop was surprised I was going to such a short length, but they all thought it was a great style for me. I have posted a picture...once I get to play with it myself I'll may post a couple of more...

My dad's comment is "it's too short." I knew he would have a problem, but I did mention it at lunch today, just to let him know. Of course he didn't know I was going today to get it cut, but I did. Oh well...he's not liking it, but I'm sure he will be okay with it once he gets used to it.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Long time...no post

*Updated...to answer questions from my sister Mary...

Well...it's not because I've been busy with school. I guess I just haven't felt like actually putting into words what has been happening. Last week was pretty rough for me, but I'm doing much better. Thursday, my sister Mary left to go to my other sister's house. They were going to take her to the airport on Saturday for her to go back with her family. She really missed them, but I was really glad for some time to visit with her. It was interesting because I actually got to talk to her...my niece and nephews didn't come with her...so she was able to get all our attention.

Since she was leaving on Thursday, I had the house alone for the day/evening. I took it off...and ended up going to school to pick up my books. I went to the church afterward to clean it, because of the holiday weekend, I wanted to have it OFF...so I cleaned the church on Thursday to help me have the weekend off too.

Friday night, I came home and started working on cleaning my room...continued with it on Saturday. My mom walked in and said..."wow! you do have a floor." This weekend I'm working on my closet. I really have a lot of stuff in there I really don't need. I bought two bins to put my purses and bags in...they are currently just laying in the floor of the closet. I'm also going to be going through the clothes and take out things that I haven't worn in awhile and give them away. Hopefully I'll be able to get some room in there.

Monday was good...I went to the flea market with my parents and sister Becky and her husband Mike. I bought three CD's...one of them I already had...oh well...it was only two bucks and I'm going to give it to one of my friends. Monday was also the premiere of my favorite show. It's going to be difficult to watch this season as I have school on Monday nights. I haven't decided what to do...tape it or just watch it online later in the week. I may do both.

This week at work has been good...and crazy. Crazy because it's the first of the month. Crazy because my normal co-worker is on vacation. I'm working with another girl...she's really sweet. I haven't really gotten to know her because we usually work in different offices, but this week it's been pretty fun. Good because it was a short week. I'm so glad it's Friday tomorrow.

Well...that's about all that's happened lately. I know it's not much, but it's about all I can remember.

This Saturday I'll be watching my boys (Nicholas, Jacob, and Brock). I'm really excited. I miss hanging out with them. I really need to set a time to spend the night with them. They are all growing up too quickly. Pray for me...because I'll have them alone for some of the day as my parents are going to a funeral. I'm sure I can handle them, but they can wear me out. LOL!!!

Until next time...

*Not sure who the person is...it's someone they knew from when he pastored at Mamre. Mike & Leah didn't tell me what they were doing for the day, and I didn't think to ask because I'm just excited about watching the boys.